Boycott!

March!

Resist!

Pray!

Protest!

Stay the course!

“Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;…” [James Weldon Johnson]

How do we stay the course when sports personalities use their platform on and off the field and court to empower the marginalized, and then get penalized or locked out once they do?

How do we stay the course when celebrities use their platform to speak the truth on behalf of the oppressed, and then get pushed aside once they open their mouths?

How do we stay the course when pastors and leaders empower those rejected from the pulpit or from their office using their platform to uplift another, only to learn that their congregation objects?

I can recall two Olympic medalists, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, raising their black-gloved fists during the national anthem while they stood on the podium during the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City.

Consider a few years ago when Miami Heat basketball players who made a statement by wearing hoodies calling for justice after the murder of Trayvon Martin. There’s something to be said of athletes who use their platform for marginalized people experiencing injustices.

Today we still have a number of NFL players who have decided to raise their fists during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick was locked out of the National Football League for taking a knee in silent protest of the injustices happening in America. Yet there are people demanding that these players collect their paycheck, play the game, or be prepared to be ousted from their job. Many who are against such protest are yelling how un-American the players’ actions are, apparently not thinking about the inequality, brutality, and injustice black and brown people are experiencing on a regular basis. Who is standing up for the eight-year-old biracial boy who was pushed from a table with a rope around his neck by some teenage boys? Now we have Jay-Z in the mix making mega deals with the NFL. Has justice been served?

Isn’t it time that we talk about the systemic racism running rampant throughout America?

We will march, protest, scream and shout, yet I find that we don’t boycott long. With the NFL, as with so many other situations that launch a boycott, I find the issue plastered everywhere while the situation is hot, but that it soon inexplicably goes cold or dead and we seldom hear of it again. One moment we are boycotting, and the next moment the boycott is over. Why is that? Why can’t we stay the course? I’m not a regular NFL watcher, however, I stood in solidarity with the boycott. But I learned within a week that the very people who were calling for the boycott soon abandoned their petition. What happened?

Now we are onto gun reform. This issue cycles back and forth a few times throughout the year. Thoughts and prayers have run its course. However, the Sand Hook Promise will stop you in your tracks. Can we stay the course in seeing gun reform?

What is it going to take to stay the course?

I will be the first to say, “We must pray!” but as I shared a moment ago, it has run its course. At some point we must put action to prayer. It is time to avail ourselves to the power of prayer. I am praying for unity between cultural and racial groups. I am praying for opportunities to reach across the aisle regardless of politics. I am praying for healing across the land. I am praying, and I am also using my voice by writing blogs and books, and sharing articles in READY Publication.

Whether you are an athlete, celebrity, pastor, business person, advocate, or carry some other title . . .

WHERE IS YOUR ROSA PARKS’ INFLUENCE?

Parks was a woman who took a stand by refusing to give up her seat. What stand are you taking today? I know many may be reading this article and thinking, “I’m just not into politics.”

Tweetable: You must understand that we cannot escape politics. #PoliticallySavvy #RaiseYourVoice #PrayWithAction @GailDudley

It does not matter how much you try to stay away from politics, it just won’t happen. Speaking to your neighbor the conversation turns to politics. Sharing within your church fellowship the conversation will turn to politics. Just say, “Persecuted Christian.”

Is it that many are only giving lip service?

Determine your platform and stay the course. Yes, you may talk about issues behind closed doors, but unless and until you speak up, others will continue to be oppressed and marginalized.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —MLK Jr.

How about you? Maybe kneeling isn’t your way of protesting the injustices that are taking place all around us. Maybe marching isn’t what makes your heart sing. Maybe writing letters to Congress isn’t your flavor. What is? How will you respond? How will you stay the course?

I want to hear from you. What are you witnessing in your neighborhood, in your local school system, in your local city council, and on your social networks? Join the conversation. What say you?

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